After initially agreeing it erred, but failing to fall on its sword, the Detroit News has issued a full apology to both its readers and the writer whose review was altered to satisfy an angry advertiser.
Presenting a reviewer’s “unvarnished opinion,” is essential, declared Publisher Jonathan Wolman, who added that advertisers should not be allowed to influence the news process.
The flap has given another black eye to a newspaper that has itself been hammered by critics, and which has seen its readership fall by roughly two-thirds over the past decade.
The widely-discussed incident was touched off when veteran auto critic Scott Burgess published a scathing review of the new Chrysler 200, earlier this month. That generated a strident response from an as yet-unnamed advertiser (though sources stress that it was not the automaker itself).
In turn, when the paper readied the review for its online version Burgess was asked to soften some of his harsher comments.